It's that time of the year to look back and remember all the amazing music releases and concerts that we have experienced.
In 2018, Sam had the pleasure of reviewing concerts by Primal Scream, LEISURE meets APO, Childish Gambino at the Madison Square Garden in NYC!, Avantdale Bowling Club and more!
Here are Sam's picks for 2018!
Top 3 Favourite Albums in 2018:
Avantdale Bowling Club – Avantdale Bowling Club (Years Gone By)
After a couple of years out of the limelight, the OG of modern NZ rap Tom Scott returned with his first solo project Avantdale Bowling Club and it is an absolute treasure. With this record, Scott goes full on into jazz-rap with some beautiful jazz arrangements set to Scott’s lyrical wizardry which explores both his past and present, the latter in the form of becoming a father. With this project, Scott cements himself as one of New Zealand’s best ever lyricists across all genres and leaves a record which is as good as any in the New Zealand rap canon.
Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)
If Kamasi Washington is not the best musician on the planet right now he would go dan close to being so. The jazz maestro is on a stellar run of albums at the moment which began in 2015 with his triple album The Epic, continued with his 2017 EP Harmony of Difference, and that has now climaxed with Heaven and Earth. This is perhaps Kamasi’s most complete project to date and sees him embracing funk and afrobeat to full effect while maintaining the unique style of jazz that has brought him critical acclaim. Heaven and Earth is an absolutely gorgeous piece of music of the like only a master musician could produce. Watching Kamasi reach such heights musically is in some ways what it must have felt like listening to Miles Davis in his prime. The comparison is all too real because the musicianship on here is at times unmatched.
The Beths – Future Me Hates Me (Carpark)
The much-anticipated debut album from Auckland indie pop darlings The Beths arrived this month and as pop records go there isn’t much better than this. Comprising a mixture of old songs from their 2016 EP and fresh material, Future Me Hates Me is a bundle of melodic indie pop goodness with jangle guitar, pounding bass and drums, and sweet vocals combining beautifully in what is one of the best local indie releases in years. The quality of this record is highlighted even further by the fact it made waves internationally with both Pitchfork and Rolling Stone praising it.
Top 2 Favourite Concerts in 2018:
Avantdale Bowling Club at the Mercury Theatre on November 22nd 2018
I go to a lot of gigs and usually I find that at the most four out of every ten will wow me... meaning I will remember moments and not just the fact I was there. This was one of those gigs where I was wowed and where the musicians playing went over and beyond what I could ever have imagined. Tom Scott’s homecoming was one for the ages and a gig this reviewer won’t forget in any hurry.
Kamasi Washington at the Powerstation on March 16th 2018
I don’t think I have ever seen musicians live as good as Kamasi and his band were on this night. I stood in awe of their musicianship the whole evening and I know the rest of the crowd around me were feeling the same way. Jazz is back in popular consciousness and Kamasi Washington proved it is in a healthy state at the Powerstation.